Great parks exist through the efforts of leaders who, for the greener good of our city, nurture and strengthen the bond between parks and communities. Earlier this week at the 16th Annual Parks & Greenspace Conference, Park Pride honored the following leaders with the 2017 Inspiration Awards:
Rochelle Callender has a lifelong interest in parks. Growing up in Minnesota, where lakes and parks set the standard for quality of life, she wanted to bring those positive experiences to the children, seniors and families of her community through Flat Shoals Park. So when she met her county commissioner at a community clean-up, she began to advocate. Her persistence and unwillingness to take “no” for an answer led to a great partnership with DeKalb County leadership and neighbors. Through Rochelle’s commitment, tenacity and proactive leadership, Flat Shoals Park has grown and developed into a great community asset!
Jesse Grossman believes in the power of volunteering, not just to make a difference in a place, but also to bring people together. In 2013, he founded Community Bucket, a platform that combines volunteering and meeting new friends all while making our city a better place to live. Recognizing that great parks are vital components of thriving communities, Jesse has brought over a thousand enthusiastic volunteers into parks to complete needed park projects and built a passionate cohort of volunteers and young leaders who understand the value of parks in our lives.
Without Nancy Jones, there would be no Blue Heron Nature Preserve. This kindergarten teacher created the Preserve in the early 2000s after negotiating a seven-acre conservation easement from a developer in her North Buckhead neighborhood. She has since expanded the Preserve to over 31 permanently protected acres, making it the largest nature preserve in North Atlanta. Nancy retired in 2016, but her legacy and the great work of Blue Heron Nature Preserve will continue.
Known by children as “Mrs. Butterfly,” Barbara Marin is a powerful force for change in her neighborhood! In 2010, realizing that her community lacked a public space for neighbors to get to know each other, she became the champion of an idea to convert an abandoned lot into a park and formed a Friends of the Park group to make Springbrook Park a reality. Barbara would not be deterred by the daunting process of planning a park from scratch; she identified neighbors who volunteered to facilitate community meetings and produced park master plans through consensus. In 2015, Springbrook Park opened to much fanfare!
Mother Mamie Moore
Mother Mamie Moore represents the very best of leadership in greenspace and community advocacy on Atlanta’s Westside. As the primary advocate for Lindsay Street Park, Mother Moore is tireless in her efforts to be a good steward of this first park in English Avenue. Beyond being the primary “eyes on the park” at Lindsay Street Park and leader of the Friends group, Mother Moore is an important voice in ongoing park planning efforts on the Westside, including Boone Park West and Cook Park. She is a vocal advocate when it comes to neighborhood involvement in park planning and consistently shows up at public meetings to ensure that community is heard and informed every step of the way.